Mediation is the Healthy Choice for Your Divorce
Did you know that divorce mediation helps divorcing couples avoid unnecessary conflict?
Divorcing within the court system leads to a losing outcome that can be devastating for your family. A court battle can result in colossal attorney fees, months or even years of stress, and an increase in the likelihood of emotional damage to each member of your family.
The stress of a court battle can lead to emotional damage to the relationships between you and your children. Attorneys often increase conflict and an unscrupulous attorney may intentionally escalate conflict to cause the process to drag on, which increases legal fees. Thankfully, there is an option to help you have a healthy, low-conflict divorce – divorce mediation.
Divorce mediation is designed to reduce conflict between spouses. It is the healthy way of moving through the complicated, emotional issues involved in divorce. High percentages of couples from every income bracket—including many high-profile celebrities—are choosing mediation for their divorce process.
The process of mediation is easy to understand. Guided by a neutral mediator, spouses work toward their best possible agreements on all issues in a low conflict way. These are the same issues attorneys would battle out in court and the judge would ultimately decide upon. Mediation helps spouses make agreements regarding all aspects of divorce, including: division of assets and debts, all decisions concerning their children, and spousal support. Mediation means that you stay in control of your process.
Spouses typically reach full agreement in a few 2-hour meetings. The entire process is completed without either party ever entering a courtroom. During the process, spouses are encouraged to seek outside legal advice at any time.
Key factors in determining whether mediation is right for you:
Time and Expense
Many Maricopa County divorce attorneys estimate that litigation costs will range between $15,000 – $18,000 per spouse in cases with an average conflict level and that never go to trial.
For those that do proceed to trial, costs often increase to approximately $80,000 – $100,000. Before attorneys even begin their work, most require a retainer between $5,000 – $15,000. Then they bill hourly against the retainer fee, and once the retainer has been depleted, many will require the spouse to replenish the retainer prior to continuing work. Since it is not unusual for litigation to last over a year, hourly billing and additional fees can add up quickly.
Divorce mediation is far less expensive. Costing 80-90% less than litigation, mediators do not typically require a retainer for their services and some only charge a flat fee for the entire process. A flat fee approach allows clients to take comfort in knowing that there are no unforeseen costs or hidden fees. Many tax advisors and other financial experts advocate for their clients to explore the mediation option to best protect the health of the client’s finances. Additionally, mediated divorces are typically concluded in as little as 1-3 months in mediation.
Divorces litigated in court are public record and litigating can expose your personal information to the public. During what may be the most trying time of your life, you could see your financial information, private communications, and court filings made a part of the public record. In contrast, the confidentiality of mediation is protected by Arizona law. No matter what is said, or what documents are exchanged in mediation, the information stays private.
Control of the Divorce Process
When a divorce is litigated, lawyers often advise spouses to end all direct communication. This is usually inconvenient and even problematic for spouses that have children or shared accounts and/or expenses. Putting this type of a communication barrier in place can lead to misunderstanding and increased conflict. Additionally, in litigation, you would have to relinquish control of the terms of your divorce and ultimately allows the terms to be decided by a judge.
In mediation, you will maintain control over their terms, as negotiations are carefully guided and facilitated by a trained mediator. This will reduce conflict and make the process less stressful. Rather than mandatory court dates and hearings, you and your spouse have control of your divorce timeline. You will decide when and how often they want to meet with your mediator.
High conflict divorces may result in serious, long-term psychological effects for children. Litigation often increases tension and discord between divorcing parents. Mediation helps parents learn to communicate in healthy ways and develop a new co-parenting relationship. Healthy co-parenting is the best thing for the children’s sense of well-being.
In mediation, co-parents work together with their mediator to create a practical, comprehensive parenting schedule that focuses on the children. Additionally, mediators help co-parents understand financial support and reach the best possible agreements. By being informed and working together, a foundation for healthy co-parenting is established.
In spite of the challenges of divorce, mediation can help reduce stress for spouses and their children. Through mediation, families are able to maintain their emotional and physical wellbeing.
Divorce mediation is the healthy choice.